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Eric Weddle: Le'Veon Bell, Earl Thomas Aren't The Bad Guys

Eric Weddle explained why fans and analysts are wrong to criticize players who hold out

November 01, 2018 - 5:15 pm

Many NFL fans seem to not understand why Earl Thomas held out – or why Le’Veon Bell still is.

Well, Eric Weddle understands. He understands from experience.

“Everyone wants to look at these situations (like) the player is always the bad guy, and it’s disappointing for me to hear that,” the five-time Pro Bowl safety said on The Zach Gelb Show. “How many times every year – hundreds of guys get cut before their contract is up. So when a guy is playing at such a high level like those guys are and want to get an extension – look, Earl just wanted an extension. I don’t know the numbers. I don’t know anything about that. But he just wanted to retire a Seahawk – like me wanting to retire a Charger.”

Weddle played for the Chargers from 2007-15, leading the team in tackles five times in nine seasons. In his final year in San Diego, however, the Chargers made it clear that they had no interest in bringing him back.

“When you don’t feel that they want that and they just want to use you and get you out of there, how are you supposed to go to work every day?” Weddle asked. “How are you supposed to go into that building knowing that they don’t want you around? They just want to use you and move on.”

It seems the same could be said for the Seahawks and Steelers, who elected not to sign Thomas and Bell to long-term deals. Thomas broke his leg in Week 4, and Bell continues to hold out.

“I feel bad for those guys, man,” said Weddle, who signed a four-year deal with the Ravens in 2016. “I feel bad for Earl, the situation he was put in. Looking back at my situation, I wish I would have asked for a trade or just not come until the end of the season – because it was miserable every day. I’m sure it was miserable for him and he’ll come out and say those things. It’s just hard on those players. They give everything for the team, the team, the team – and then it comes down to it, and you don’t feel the same acknowledgment back from the organization. 

“So it’s tough, man,” Weddle continued. “It’s tough as players. But you live, you learn, you move on. Hopefully those guys will get on their feet and end up in a spot where they’re appreciated.”